War crimes trial will be transparent: B`desh govt to opposition

Last Updated: Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 12:10

Dhaka: The Bangladesh government has assured the political opposition that the war crimes trial that is to begin shortly would be "hundred percent transparent".

Also, the government sought cooperation from the opposition parties.

Stating that nobody would oppose "a real trial" of the war criminals, main opposition Bangladesh nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain, however, said on Friday: "The government is doing this only to execute "certain political intentions".

The country`s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, many of whose top leaders are accused of war crimes, expressed doubts as to whether the investigation would be neutral, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) reported.

Jamaat Ameer (chief) Motiur Rahman Nizami, who is one of the accused of leading armed Islamist militia against unarmed civilians during the 1971 freedom struggle, said he feared the probe might be "one based on the dictates of the ministers".

"This is because the way Awami League government and its ministers have been issuing statements targeting a particular party and individuals," The Daily Star newspaper said.

On Thursday, the eve of the 40th Independence Day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s government announced a three-member war crime tribunal, seven-member investigation agency and a panel of 12 prosecutors.

The opposition parties were reacting to an assurance from ruling Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam, also a minister, calling upon the main opposition BNP to come forward with information about war criminals.

The trial process will be hundred percent transparent. International standards will be maintained at every phase, and there will be observers from abroad as well, he said.

The government is to start the trial of an estimated 1,500 persons who, as per documentary evidence gathered by NGOs and former freedom fighters, were engaged in the killings, loot and arson of civilians and religious minorities in 1971.

IANS



First Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 12:10

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